Thursday, April 22, 2010

Avoiding the work from home scams

Be wary of unsolicited emails, the less harmless ones just bombard you with spam, the really bad ones are fraudulent and will attempt to get a small investment for a membership or some other services. Or they will attempt to steal your personal information.

Steer clear of the old “envelope stuffing” scheme. These are illegal pyramid schemes. All you get for your investment is a “how to guide” on placing ads just like the one you responded to, asking people to send you money for information about this opportunity. You won’t make any money, and you could be prosecuted for fraud.

Be aware of businesses requesting you recruit other people. Legitimate businesses have a product or service.

Stay away from jobs asking that you receive money. This is an old scam, you receive money, deposit into your account, write a check or wire transfer the funds less your fee. The check(s) you deposit are fraudulent and since it takes time for these check to clear, you’re left responsible for the bounced check and again, you could be prosecuted for fraud.

Be cautious before investing money in a business. Many new businesses require an investment. Ask yourself what am I getting for my investment? Is it inventory? Marketing materials? Training? Then ask yourself is there a market for this product/service? What is their refund policy? Do I have a contract? Get references and contact them.

If it’s a job requesting money, once again ask yourself what am I getting for my investment? Equipment, training? The legitimate companies that require an investment in equipment usually deduct it you’re your paycheck, they will not ask for it up front. Some work from home companies have started requesting fees for background checks. Personally, I don’t believe in paying for a job, but if you do decide to this, investigate the company first. You should be making your payment to an outside verifiable criminal investigation firm.

Just because it says “as seen on TV or New York Times,…………..” doesn’t mean it’s true. Verify it yourself.

Christian business opportunities, once again, just because it says Christian, doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy. People have been selling potions and cures under the guise of religion since the beginning of time.

Is the business or job targeting one set of people (disabled, senior citizens, stay at home moms), does the advertisement play on someone’s emotions?

Be cautious of companies requesting too much personal information at the beginning of the hiring process. Most companies only ask for your social security number, date of birth and other pertinent information after they hire you, not before.

Be cautious of companies with incomplete or unusual contact information. If the web site only offers an email address, be wary, even e-businesses still have a physical address.

Research the company fully with the Better Business Bureau, state licensing boards, , , and  to check domain registration. You can also ask questions on my favorite wah forums or Google “company name + scam” and see what results you find.

Look for other red flags such as higher than normal salary or over-inflated returns on your investment. No experience necessary is another one. Remember if it’s too good to be true, it is, plain and simple.

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